Castor oil packs for scar tissue
DISCLAIMER: The insights in this blog were made from thousands of hours of self-discovery, body work, study and conversations. It is based on my personal experience and history. I wrote this blog to share these insights in hopes of helping others find relief. I have found significant physical and emotional healing from using castor oil packs for scar tissue and know many others that have too. These packs are a powerful way to reduce the pinching and pulling pain abdominal scar tissue creates. Castor oil packs can be used on other areas of the body as well. Do not use until scars are healed completely.
Gall Bladder Surgery
In 2003, I had my gallbladder removed. In 2017, I began having unexplained abdominal pain. My gallbladder surgery began as a normal laparoscopic procedure but turned into a more complex surgery. My gallbladder was found on the wrong side of my body. It was next to my stomach, on the left side, instead of under my liver on the right side of my body. I don’t have situs inversus, a condition where the major visceral organs are reversed or mirrored from their normal positions. My gallbladder—supposed to be pear-shaped and on the right—was instead found on the left side of my body, shaped like a corkscrew. Suffice it to say, the surgery didn’t go exactly as planned.
After its removal, I experienced significant pain and a long recovery. The pain of gall stones was gone, but I still suffered from digestion issues. I believe these issues stemmed from my poor diet, addictions and severe anxiety. After recovery—and with an addiction to pain killers—my abdomen became no concern of mine… until I started practicing yoga…
In 2009—after receiving the news that I had about 6 months to live—I began practicing yoga and meditation. Overweight, disconnected and unhealthy, yoga challenged me. I knew I had to keep practicing if I wanted to survive, so I did. I noticed restrictions in my abdomen but never gave it much thought. It just felt tight and stiff.
Over a decade after the surgery, and after thousands of hours of body work, movement, exercise, study and training, my abdomen couldn’t be ignored. My body was trying to tell me something.
It got my attention with pain—pinching, pulling, stabbing pain—along with restriction in movement.
The body whispers.
When we can’t hear the whispers, we must wait until we hear the screams.
That’s where pain came in.
I began having issues with my left hip and left rib cage. I suffered injuries to my left SI joint and left hamstring in 2011, which weakened the hip, but the vaginal birth of my son in 2014 complicated and weakened the joint further. I began having issues with my left floating ribs after my son’s birth as well.
To this, I added the stress of watching my mother’s health deteriorate as she battles lung cancer.
I discovered that I had a wide range of emotional issues that I have buried in my solar plexus. No wonder my body was screaming at me!
My pelvis was out of alignment and my low back, knees and ankles were suffering. I regularly got body work to get my pelvis realigned, but it was only ever temporary relief. Stress and movement always pulled it back out. It was an endless cycle of relief and pain. Stress made it worse. Focusing on the pain made it worse. Lack of movement made it worse. Movement made it worse.
It seemed like this mystery would never be solved.
Western doctors prescribed pain killers and tests. I wouldn’t go down that road again, and intuitively knew there had to be another way to healing. After all, yoga and meditation saved my life, so I knew alternatives worked.
So, what does hip and rib pain have to do with my gallbladder surgery?
After more work and investigation, I discovered that excessive scar tissue in my abdomen was pulling my weakened hip out of alignment. Scar tissue develops not only on the visible layers of the skin (the epidermis) but also in the dermis (beneath the epidermis) and the hypodermis (layer made of fat and connective tissue). Scar tissue is formed around injuries, made of new collagen fibers to fix the damage. This new tissue has a different form and quality of surrounding tissues.
All the movement and prodding from the surgery in 2003 created lots of scar tissue in my abdomen—more than usual with this type of surgery. The scar tissue has been pulling, twisting, changing shape and moving organs around. I’ve even heard instances when scar tissue attaches to organs. There is scar tissue holding the space where my gallbladder used to be. Deep within the tissues are nerves, which can further explain the pinching and stabbing pain I have been experiencing. The nerves within the tissues are being moved. As the scar tissue thickens, the effects worsen.
Think of the skin as a smooth layer. Think of scar tissue as a hard ball in the middle of that smooth layer. This ball pulls the smooth tissue toward itself, bunching it up, like the way the gravity of stars pulls planets into their orbits. The pull of the scar tissue—especially after a decade—has led to my weakened hip repositioning, pulling my low back, knee and ankle joints out of alignment too. Scar tissue cannot be removed because it will create more scar tissue, so another surgery is not an option.
It’s important to note that scar tissue in the abdomen from surgeries—including cesareans—is also known to cause neck and shoulder issues.
I’ll save my neck and shoulder issues for another blog…
Is there any way to find relief from scar tissue?
Castor oil packs are a solution that works, even though they’re a solution most Western doctors don’t believe in or won’t recommend. Even after my first castor oil pack, I noticed a drastic difference in my abdominal tissue and relief from my abdominal pain. It was soft. There was space. There was noticeably less tightness and restriction than before.
I started doing castor oil packs 2-3 times per week, and I noticed two things:
- I felt more physical relief and noticed that more buried emotions came up.
- I felt relief from the sharp pain, but I also felt fear.
My diaphragm has been so squished up above the scar tissue that I’ve had restriction with my breath. This was surprising, because I have practiced so much deep breathing and have improved my lung capacity drastically since returning to health.
I noticed after the scar tissue began to break up, however, that I had even more space to breathe. My normal breath count (inhaling and exhaling while counting) was about 10 at its deepest. Now, in a matter of a few weeks, my count is about 20. I believe this space created fear, because it’s unknown for me. I’ve known the restriction and though the change is welcome, it feels like someone else’s body.
But wait… what’s this? What else am I storing in my tissues?
The deeper breaths brought up fear that I had been storing from childhood.
Instead of focusing on the fear, however, I focus on the deliciousness of breathing so deep, the deep states of relaxation and anxiety relief. It’s really a miracle how much space there is now!
Imagine wearing a corset, pulled so tight you are aware that you are wearing it. Then imagine taking that corset off. That’s how it feels. My back, my ribs and my belly all feel so soft and spacious, which is something new for me. I feel taller and my breath is so expansive. I’m very aware of the movement of respiration. I’m aware of all the breathing muscles working together to keep me alive.
My yoga practice has changed as well. Where there was once pain in my hip, I have found relief. Certain poses that I couldn’t practice before have become accessible again.
Before, I was working with a different version of my body as I practiced, which is normally the case in our practice. But this was different. Gradual changes take place with flexibility in our practices, but this was drastic. One day, Supported ½ Moon pose gave me pain on the left side. The next day, I found expansion and relaxation. It was miraculous. My physical and emotional bodies shifted overnight.
What are you holding on to? And where? Castor oil packs for emotional cleansing
I unwound shame in my solar plexus. The solar plexus chakra is in the abdomen, above the belly button. Its central issues are power, self-esteem, self-image, energy, autonomy, will and responsibility. The goals of the third chakra are vitality, responsibility, balanced ego strength, self-esteem, purpose, strength of will and spontaneity.
I stored low self-esteem, poor body image, self-doubt and dependency in my solar plexus.
My competitive nature and anger came up from this place to move out. I relaxed into the sweetness of taking responsibility for the life I created—all of it—good and bad.
I moved out the complex relationship with my mother, which I discovered was stored there. I rested in the strength and beauty of my body. I had to let the shame come in. I had to let the shame go. I stopped identifying with the shame ingrained from my Italian Catholic upbringing. I ignited my will to live and desire to share my message of peace and healing through yoga and meditation.
In addition, as I breathed deeper and ignited the heart chakra, I moved grief. Grief for my mom’s pain. Grief for her suffering. The grief of feeling helpless. The grief of past hurts. The grief of heartache and rejection.
I watch my mom’s health deteriorate as I decide each moment what kind of mom I want to be. I must mother from love. I must let that be okay.
The heart chakra is in the middle of the chest where the heart is and its central issues are love and unconditional love for self and others, forgiveness, developing healthy and meaningful relationships, intimacy, devotion, depression and loneliness. The goals of the fourth chakra are love, compassion and empathy for self and others, self-care, fulfilling relationships, to see the world as a loving and safe place, to feel loved and cared for by self and others and forgiveness for past hurts, of others and self.
As I worked on compassion and forgiveness, I healed parts of myself that needed attention and care. I had to release the past by not giving it my attention anymore. I massaged it out with the castor oil to be free of it for good.
I repeated the following to myself:
I can shift from sadness to love.
I can develop healthy relationships, even if they were once unhealthy.
I can use my empathic nature to help clients and family heal.
I can use sensitivity and compassion to hold a safe pace for others grieving and in pain.
I can take care of myself. I must take care of myself.
The world is safe and loving.
Forgiving myself means peace.
Love and connection are more important to me than holding onto the grievances of the past. Love and connection are more important than regret, pain, self-created suffering and what was left unsaid.
The small self of the ego has no place in love.
Castor oil packs cleared out the restrictions in the tissues. They play another major role in my spiritual healing. I am not my body but I do need to take care of this house while I am having my human experience. It’s my job to listen to the wisdom my body holds.
My scar tissue has a lot to tell me.
I was breaking through issues that had been buried and ignored as I opened this area. I fell apart. I got messy. I meditated, journaled, read more spiritual texts, moved my body more, I danced, I practiced yoga, I practiced energy clearing, I chanted, I cried, I grieved, I let go, I let it be, I accepted, I forgave, I ate better and soothed myself to make it through. I healed.
A powerful clearing and releasing started happening, which is why I couldn’t do the packs every day. I needed to let what I was bringing up come up and move out before I kicked up more. It was intense, but liberating.
I was looking for freedom and I found it. I wish you the same.
How to do a castor oil pack:
I like to wear rubber gloves because it is messy. Keep in mind, it may ruin clothes it encounters. I use this time to practice deep breaths, practice healing visualizations, listen to soothing music or read. It’s a self-care practice that you deserve.
Cloth can be reused. Discard after 20 uses or 2 months.
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